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Newton fires police chief Matthew Cummings after hearing

Posted by Deidre Fernandes  October 11, 2012 01:13 PM

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Newton Mayor Setti Warren officially fired Police Chief Matthew Cummings Thursday for “conduct unbecoming” following a hearing into inappropriate comments he allegedly made to three women in his department, including his former secretary.

Cummings, who had been chief since 2009, was placed on administrative leave in late August after an investigation concluded that he made “boorish” remarks, including telling his secretary she looked like a “whore,” and commenting on the weight a pregnant officer had gained. In an attempt to be funny, he also kicked the shoe off his secretary's foot and caused her a minor injury, according to the report.

During a six-hour hearing on Wednesday, Cummings’s attorney tried to question the former secretary’s credibility and motives. The secretary, Jeanne Sweeney Mooney, is charged with larceny in Framingham District Court. She pleaded not guilty.

Police allege that Mooney took an envelope containing $660 cash collected through various police permit fees. She is also accused of destroying nearly $1,500 in checks and a schedule of the payments.

Cummings’s attorney anticipated Warren’s decision and indicated that his client would seek an arbitration hearing.

Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at deirdre.fernandes@globe.com

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